Pet Vet: Breast Cancer Awareness in Pets

Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 9:03 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and today is the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides” event right here in South Bend. 

Breast cancer not only affects people, but threatens the health of dogs and cats as well. 

Our Pet Vet, Dr. David Visser, tells us about breast cancer in pets, as well as how this condition in animals is helping in our fight against this disease in people. 

Signs of Mammary Tumors

  • May begin in lower groin glands
  • Single or multiple nodules
  • Either firm or soft
  • Smooth or irregular surface

To Spay or Not To Spay?

  • Spay:  nearly 100% prevention of breast cancer
  • Not spay:  1 in 4 chance of breast cancer, even if spayed after just two heat cycles.

Treatments for Breast Cancer in Dogs

  • Surgical mastectomy or “lumpectomy”
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment
  • Anti-hormonal drugs

How Dogs Help in Cancer Studies

  • Cancer is just as common in dogs as in people
  • Dogs have similar environmental exposures
  • Dogs and people share similar immune system characteristics

If you want to contact the Pet Vet, Dr. David Visser, you can reach him at the Center for Animal Health by calling 888-pets-vets or via email at michianapetvet@

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